The killer USB Drive has been designed especially to burn laptops – So be careful while inserting someone’s USB on your laptop.

Have you heard about the subway USB theft? In case you haven’t let us tell you that someone took a flash drive from a passenger while both were travelling. The drive was later plugged by the thief into his computer and he learned that the drive literally fried his computer instead of loading any valuable data.

It is a fake flash drive and has a specifically designed circuitry that can almost break the computer these are plugged into. Isn’t it an alluring concept? Perhaps, the thief believed so and initiated the task of creating a similar computer frying USB drive.

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It is a fact that almost every electrical port on a laptop or computer serves as a potential entry point for hazardous signals. And USBs generally are well protected. So, the port can simply shut off if you short power and ground together. If it is passed via any KV of electricity and TVS diodes, it is possible to shove the power safely. If you feed in an RF signal then the inline filtering beads will dissipate all the energy.

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To break through these safety procedures, the Killer USB’s design utilizes an inverting DC-DC converter which takes USB port’s power for charging the capacitor bank to up to -110VDC. Once the caps are charged, the converter is turned off and a transistor shoves the capacitor’s voltage to the post’s data points.

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After discharging the caps, the supply fires back up and this cycle is performed repeatedly until the computer is completely fried or as long as the bus voltage is alive.

To defeat the small TVS diodes present on the bus lines and burn some critically important components as well as the CPU, the combo of high voltage and high current is perfect. USB drive is usually integrated with the CPU and in almost all modern laptops this feature makes the attack very productive.

Images Via: Kukuruku.co |

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Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.